Of all the lenses available on the market, there’s no doubt that the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and Sony 24-105 f/4 are currently two of the most popular offerings among the Sony camera users. With an excellent zoom range and praise from creative professionals alike, these two counterparts usually spur a vigorous debate referring to which one should you pick?
Filmmaker and tech reviewer Max Yuryev has already put both these lenses to the test while sharing his personal insight and first-hand impressions, thus helping you decide which lens will best suit your workflow.
Regarding build quality, the Sony’s lenses have been widely acclaimed for their solid and reliable construction. This trend continues with their 24-105 f/4 OSS lens which Yuryev claims to be overall sturdier than the Tamron 28-75 F2.8.
While Max prefers the build quality of the Sony, the Tamron’s counterpart is still considered to be well-built, however, you may want to be more delicate with the lens, especially when using it under extreme weather conditions. On the flip side, Tamron’s lens is less front-heavy compared to the Sony lens, which makes it perfect for those folks who generally prefer lighter camera setups while working in the field.
In terms of image quality and autofocus capabilities, the Tamron lens is a solid contender. Not only does it produce slightly sharper images than the Sony rival, but the lens offers a minimum focusing distance of just 7.5″ and a 1:2.9 maximum magnification which seems perfect for working with close-up subjects. In addition, the autofocus is blazing fast, plus it can take advantage of the different focusing modes found in most Sony mirrorless cameras.
One caveat with the Tamron, however, is that you may come across an autofocus glitch on occasion. This tends to happen when you power on the camera and you switch from movie to still mode. The glitch can easily be fixed by either restarting the camera or by reconnecting the lens. Hopefully, this shortcoming will be addressed by Tamron and Sony in a future firmware update.
Unlike the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, the Sony 24-105 f/4 features Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) which seamlessly integrates with Sony cameras that use In-Body Stabilization (IBS). Moreover, the Sony lens can work natively with the camera software to remove wide-angle distortions from images. Since the Tamron lens lacks this ability, you may notice a slight distortion when shooting with a focal distance of 28mm. Of course, you can fix this in post, but it’s definitely a quirk that you should keep in mind.
Speaking of focal distance, you’ll also notice that the Sony lens has a greater zoom range from 24mm to 105mm, whereas the Tamron’s focal distance only ranges from 28mm to 75mm.
Then again, the lower aperture of f/2.8 found on the Tamron lens may be a justifiable trade-off for a lower focal distance range, compared to the Sony’s f/4 aperture depending on your personal shooting style and requirements.
After factoring all the features and limitations above, in addition to accounting for the price, it seems that these two lenses may appeal to two different types of consumers.
If you’re someone who already has a lens kit full of various primes and zooms, you may want to consider purchasing the Tamron 28-75 F2.8, which is priced at around $800 – roughly $500 cheaper than the Sony lens. While it may not have the same range of zoom like the Sony’s unit, Tamron’s lower aperture, decent zoom, and sharp image quality should appeal to those looking for an all-purpose lens to add to their growing kit.
On the other hand, if you are just starting out and you’re looking for an all-purpose starter lens, shelling out roughly $1,300 for the Sony 24-105 F4 is more than reasonable. With the lens’ ability to integrate seamlessly with Sony camera software, you’ll find the Sony lens to be more reliable than any third-party offering – from both a hardware and software perspective.